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Wale – Real-Time Inspiration, Connecting with Fans and “Wow… That’s Crazy” | The Daily Show

February 18, 2020

-Welcome to The Daily Show.
-Thanks for having me. Yeah, man. It is such a pleasure
to have you here because I think
there are few, uh, artists– never mind rappers,
just artists– who have as wide of an appeal
as you do. There’s not many people
who can say their fans include President Barack Obama
and Jerry Seinfeld. -That is quite a range of fan.
-That-That’s… Did you… did you ever think
that would happen in your life? I might have just realized it
just now. -(laughter)
-Might have just just realized. -That’s crazy, right? -That
must have been wild for you. Especially, like, ’cause…
Like, Jerry… For those who know
Jerry Seinfeld, like, he’s notorious for only doing
what he wants to do. He doesn’t like
what he doesn’t like, -and he likes what he likes.
-Right. He loved your music,
and he was like, -“I’m gonna do something
with you.” -Yeah. -And he did, like, interludes
on your album. -Mm-hmm. And you named your…
You named that mixtape. It was an Album About Nothing. So, when I was…
when I was coming up, I did, uh,
Mixtape About Nothing, right? -Right. -That’s when I just
was just, like, quitting my job and doing this full-time. Then I dropped a mixtape called
More About Nothing when I first signed Interscope. And then, you know,
the fans is like, “Can you do an album
about nothing? Do an album on nothing?” And in my mind, I’m like, “Damn. “I got to ask Jerry Seinfeld
to do… to do original content.” -‘Cause I was using the show
for the mixtapes. -Right, right. I was like, “I got to ask him
to do original content.” But we got about, like… maybe, like, eight hours
of Jerry talking. -Are you serious? -Yeah.
To make The Album About Nothing. Make sure if you don’t got that,
make sure you get that, too. -That is amazing.
-I got to promote my… -I got to promote my stuff.
-That is amazing. (cheering and applause) Yeah, so, here you are
in this world. Jerry Seinfeld is a friend
and a fan, and then on top of that, you have Barack Obama,
who’s like, “No, I would like Wale to come
and perform at the White House -before the State of the Union.”
-Yeah. What is that experience
even like? I’m pretty tight, right? (laughter) It’s like…
No, um, I was nervous. I mean, maybe it was ’cause…
It was out of convenience ’cause I live in D.C., and the White House
is not too far. I like the idea
that you think Barack Obama was working off convenience
at that time. Where he was just like,
“Uh, which rapper is close? Uh… Um…” No, I-I think he got you
because he was a fan of yours. -No.
-And I think it’s because of… I think it’s because of
what you rap about, you know? Like, you-you’ve been…
you’ve been lauded as a rapper who isn’t just great
at making music but your music
also contains themes that-that really connect
with so many people. You’re talking
about toxic masculinity. You’re talking
about economic anxiety. You’re talking about
what people are going through. -Right. -Why would you
even go into that? We’re pretty messed up
as people, anyway. Most of us. Most of us rappers,
we pretty messed up. -Right.
-Men as a whole. Like, females messed up,
but we can get to that later. -Like, um… No.
-(laughter) No, you know,
it’s just about balance. I write…
I-I like to write in real time. Like, I’ll-I’ll peek my head
into the pop culture. -Uh-huh. -Feel out what’s
going on in our communities, and then I just get inspired
and write. So if that’s what I’m feeling
the energy is like, it’s a combination of, like,
what’s going on in social media. -What’s going on outside
in real time. -Right. What’s going on in sports.
A little bit of politics. That’s kind of depressing
when I look at… look at that. But I try to take
all of these things and just write it in real time. When you move from one album
to another, you’ve always got that balance
between catering to the fans that loved you
from the beginning and then creating something new that you want to go into
as an artist. How did you find that balance, and what made
this album different? Well, creating something new
keeps… gives you your sanity -as an artist or a creator.
-Right. You know what I’m saying?
I do what I like. I do what I feel.
But I’m also very in tune what my fans like. I’m always trying to listen to
what they feel about everything.

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